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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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August 2018    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 33, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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You? Run Out of Air? Impossible . . . Right?

what about your buddy? How to be prepared for the last gasp

from the August, 2018 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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While experienced divers rarely run out of air, it's a foremost concern of dive trainees, and it can happen if their instructors are lax or casual about monitoring them. That's why we divers normally dive with a buddy, and that buddy carries an alternate air supply (an octopus), for such an unlikely emergency. For solo divers, a redundant air supply should be a must. After all, there is rarely a valid excuse for an experienced diver running out of air.

Many experienced divers use air-integrated computers that not only display remaining tank pressure, but also calculate how long the remaining air will last at the current depth and breathing-rate. By keeping the remaining air time greater than the remaining no-deco-stop-time or the displayed ascent-time (including mandated stops), you shouldn't get into trouble.

I remember well an over-enthusiastic French dive guide in Tahiti insisting on taking me down to 165 feet to see some puny gorgonia sea fans, and later leaving me to eke out the last dregs of air from my single tank at a mandated deco-stop. There's no fool like an old fool, and with several thousand dives under my belt, I should have known better....

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